ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
ANDREW C. MATERNOWSKI JEFFREY A. MODISETT
Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
THOMAS D. PERKINS
Deputy Attorney General
SUPREME COURT OF INDIANA
MARVIN D. CASTOR, )
) Supreme Court Cause Number
v. ) 89S00-9803-CR-182
STATE OF INDIANA, )
APPEAL FROM THE WAYNE SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable Barbara A. Harcourt, Special Judge
Cause No. S2861933CR
ON DIRECT APPEAL
September 13, 2001
A jury convicted Marvin D. Castor of murder, and the trial court sentenced
him to death. In the initial direct appeal, this Court affirmed Castors
conviction but remanded for resentencing. After a new sentencing hearing, the trial
court sentenced Castor to sixty years imprisonment. In this appeal, Castor contends
his sentence is manifestly unreasonable in light of his mental illness. We
disagree and therefore affirm.
Factual and Procedural History
In May 1986, Castor worked as a salesman for the Sugar Creek Resort
located near Greenfield, Indiana. The Resort was affiliated with a business entity
known as Collett Ventures. Castor and his brother, who also worked for
the Resort, obtained and reviewed a number of documents concerning Collett Ventures.
They concluded that their employer was engaged in defrauding lending institutions. Castor
decided to approach a representative of Collett Ventures and request $250,000 in exchange
for the documents.
In a May 6th meeting with Bill Collett, Castors superior at Collett Ventures,
Castor demanded payment in exchange for the documents. After Castor left the
office, Collett reported the incident to the Hancock County Sheriffs Department, which in
turn contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The following day the FBI
recorded telephone conversations between Castor and at least two representatives from Collett Ventures.
During the conversations Castor said he believed Collett Ventures had sent hit
men to his house with the intent to injure him. Castor also
said that he was armed to the teeth and that the hit men
would not intimidate him. The Collett Ventures representatives assured Castor there were
no hit men after him but that his extortion attempt had been reported
to the police. They also discussed with Castor arrangements for paying the
money he demanded.
The next day Castor waited in his pickup truck at the agreed upon
location. Malcolm Grass, a Hancock County deputy sheriff, and a number of
FBI agents arrived to arrest Castor. All the officers arrived in unmarked vehicles,
and none wore uniforms. Witness accounts vary concerning when or whether the
officers announced they were either police or FBI. In any event, the
only visual identification showing the men were law enforcement personnel was a hat
worn by one officer emblazoned with the letters FBI.
Both Castor and deputy sheriff Grass exited their vehicles with weapons drawn.
As they faced each other, Castor fired at least two shots. One
bullet struck Grass in the head. He died as a result. Castor
ultimately surrendered. As the FBI agents arrested him, Castor asked if they
were members of the Mafia. He also said that he believed the
agents were hit men.
The State charged Castor with murder and sought the death penalty because Grass
was a law enforcement officer acting in the course of his duty.
A jury convicted him as charged and after the penalty phase of the
trial, recommended that the death penalty be imposed. The trial court accepted
the recommendation and sentenced Castor to death.
On direct appeal in 1992, this Court affirmed Castors conviction for murder but
reversed the sentence of death and remanded the case to the trial court
for a new penaltyphase hearing.
Castor, 587 N.E.2d at 1290. On
remand, Castors incompetency to stand trial caused a lengthy series of delays.
Ultimately in 1996, the trial court found Castor competent and conducted a new
sentencing hearing. The trial court found three aggravating factors: (1) substantial
risk that Castor will commit another crime of the same magnitude as murder;
(2) Castor knew Grass was a law enforcement officer acting in the course
of duty when he was murdered; and (3) Castor was in need of
correctional and rehabilitative treatment that could best be provided by long-term commitment to
a penal facility. The trial court found only one mitigating factor -
no history of criminal activity. Concluding that the aggravating factors outweighed the
single mitigating factor, the trial court sentenced Castor to an enhanced term of
sixty years. This appeal ensued in due course.
Castor contends his sentence is manifestly unreasonable in light of his mental illness.
He specifically argues that the trial court failed to consider his severe mental
illness as a significant mitigating factor. Castor also complains the trial court
did not adequately articulate its reasons for using the in need of correctional
or rehabilitative treatment aggravator. Determination of sentences is a matter of discretion
for the trial court. Young v. State, 696 N.E.2d 386, 391 (Ind.
1998). However, when deciding to enhance a sentence, the court must state
all significant aggravating and mitigating factors and articulate the balancing process by which
it determined that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating ones. I.C. §
35-38-1-7.1; Harris v. State, 659 N.E.2d 522, 527-28 (Ind. 1995).
A claim that the trial court failed to find a mitigating circumstance requires
the defendant to establish that the mitigating evidence is both significant and clearly
supported by the record. Wallace v. State, 725 N.E.2d 837, 840 (Ind.
2000); Carter v. State, 711 N.E.2d 835, 838 (Ind. 1999). Here, Castor
argues that the facts surrounding the deputy sheriffs killing, combined with Castors competency
evaluations, show that he was mentally ill at the time of the crime.
Castor points to his hit men references and his belief that Collett
Ventures was involved in illegal activity to support his claim that the entire
tragedy is a product of  mental illness. Br. of Appellant at
Castor has not carried his burden of proof. First, even if his
conduct in 1986 could be described as bizarre or unusual, that does not
necessarily mean that Castor was mentally ill at the time. See, e.g.,
Allen v. State, 716 N.E.2d 449, 455 (Ind. 1999) (finding defendant guilty despite
claim of insanity based in part on testimony that defendant heard a voice
telling him to commit the crime); Garner v. State, 704 N.E.2d 1011, 1014
(Ind. 1998) (rejecting defendants claim of insanity even though he acted strangely prior
to committing a murder). Nor does the fact Castor was subjected to
eight competency evaluations between 1992 and 1996 demonstrate that he was mentally ill
at the time of the crime. The record does show that at
various times mental health professionals either testified or submitted reports concluding Castor suffered
a mental illness and was thus unable to assist counsel in his defense.
However, there was no testimony that Castor was mentally ill at the
time the crime was committed. For example, Dr. Richard Lawlor, a clinical
psychologist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, was one of the mental
health professionals who examined Castor on the question of his competency to stand
trial. In a November 1994 hearing, counsel for Castor inquired whether it
was possible that Castor suffered a mental illness at the time of the
crime. Dr. Lawlor responded: I dont know whether that would be true
or not . . . . And I think that he was
probably able, if it did exist at that time, to maintain outward control
during those periods of time with the help of what seems to be
a significant amount of intelligence. R. at 2371.
It is true that mental illness at the time of the crime may
be considered a significant mitigating factor. Mayberry v. State, 670 N.E.2d 1262,
1271 (Ind. 1996). However, in this case whether Castor actually suffered a
mental illness in May 1986 is not clearly supported by the record.
On this point we find no error in the trial courts sentencing.
As for Castors complaint that the trial court did not adequately articulate its
reasons for imposing the in need of correctional or rehabilitative treatment aggravator, the
law provides that when relying on this aggravator, a trial court must articulate
why the specific defendant requires corrective or rehabilitative treatment that could best be
provided by commitment to a penal facility for a period of time in
excess of the presumptive sentence. Ford v. State, 718 N.E.2d 1104, 1107
(Ind. 1999). The record shows the trial court cited this aggravator because
Castor has been incarcerated since May 1986, and Defendant continues to make threats
of killings while awaiting trial on the murder charge, and after conviction of
murder and awaiting retrial on the penalty phase . . . .
R. at 3174-75. This statement identifies Castors subsequent conduct as justification for
the imposition of the aggravator and is sufficient to support its use by
the trial court.
The Indiana Constitution confers upon this Court the power to review and revise
sentences. Ind. Const. art. 7, § 4. However, we will not
revise a sentence unless it is manifestly unreasonable in light of the nature
of the offense and the character of the offender. Ind. Appellate Rule
7(B) (formerly App.R. 17(B)); Johnson v. State, 734 N.E.2d 242, 246 (Ind. 2000).
In this case we conclude that a sixty-year sentence for murdering a
law enforcement officer in the performance of his duty, knowing that he was
in fact an officer, is not manifestly unreasonable.
We affirm the trial court.
SHEPARD, C.J., and DICKSON, SULLIVAN and BOEHM, JJ., concur.
A more detailed summary of the facts can be found in
Castors original appeal.
See Castor v. State, 587 N.E.2d 1281, 1283-85 (Ind.
See Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(b)(6)(A) (listing law enforcement officer killed while
acting in the course of duty as an aggravating factor for which the
State may seek a death sentence or a sentence of life imprisonment without